Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Remember Vusi? -gfh

Remember Vusi? Well he arrived last transfer! He is just as delightful in person as he was in his description of himself in the email he sent.
THE GOSPEL IS TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
VUSI!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "

"Water Water Everywhere and Not A Drop To Drink"-gfh

Monday the water was off in our area! Things got a little tense at the office as we strategically planned our day around no toilets, or hand washing. Luckily we have bottled water supplied so thirst wasn't a problem but drinking was limited to avoid other problems. When we returned home that evening we realized that the water was out there as well and we were not prepared for this and needed to get some water stored. This is the first time this has happened in our area but we've heard of this problem with other missionary flats.
We made it through the night hoping the water would be back on by morning. Didn't happen. We "faked" it as we got ready for the office with Elder H feeling really bad about not being able to shave. :-) The good news was the water was on at the office when we arrived and while out running a few errands we stopped by the flat and checked if we had water yet. YES! All was well.....until......

We opened the door to our flat at 5:30PM and were greeted by the sound of gushing water and inches and inches of water everywhere!! Yes, I had remembered to turn off the faucet I had checked earlier in the day BUT one of the other faucets had been left on from earlier. And to help create the disaster a wash cloth that had been in the sink was sucked into the drain and plugged up the drain so the water was gushing out of the faucet and slashing onto the floor.

Three hours of literally bailing water until it got down to the "soaking up & wringing out towels" stage we collapsed into bed feeling very old and achy but also very grateful it was not during our freezing winter weather or not muddy and yucky like some have experienced with real honest to goodness flooding. We are also grateful for our hard cement floors with very thin carpet and no padding! (something we have been known to complain about before). Now we will keep windows open and fans going until things dry out.
(No pictures were taken of Elder H because his casual clothes were left on the floor and thus were sopping wet. He did his bailing in his skivvies.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

More Frosting On The Cake! -gfh

Saturday we were off to Ennerdale to do some home teaching. We only had one appointment and it's a forty minute drive each way but we knew that the sister needed our visit.
As we visited in her home she shared her concerns. She is a single woman in her middle forties who has a twelve year old son and "the old man" (that's what she affectionately calls her father)who is frail and in his eighties. She has needed to earn some money and accepted a job which has taken her out of the home from Sunday afternoons till Friday nights leaving her 12 year old son and 80 year old father to care for themselves all week. She deeply feels her responsibilities as the mother of the home but she is also the only means for income. There were tears and a very sweet prayer. We know she receives strength from our visits.
We then took our chances and went to visit a very less active family who hadn't returned our calls. The older daughter and son were home but the parents were not. She is one of our YSA's. We chatted and then she gave us an invitation to her 21st birthday party in two weeks. That was such a good sign that she would want us to attend. So that was a very positive visit.
THEN....we had one more family to visit who is also less active and very hard to connect with and hadn't replied to our messages. She is also one of our YSA's, a single mother of two girls who lives with her brother. We had gotten conflicting word on the brother. Some say he is a member some say he isn't. Well, she wasn't home but he was. Our knock actually awakened him at 3:00PM. (he had gotten home about 2:00 from his night shift.)We visited at the door briefly AND THEN HE INVITED US IN!! Elder Henrichsen asked the perfect questions and we had a wonderful visit.
Our home teaching day turned out to be awesome! The Spirit definitely directed us in our calling.
Now what about Sunday? Well, we arrived at Ennerdale in time for our meeting and the President asked us if we would go pick up Chantelle....the sister who wasn't at home but her brother was! She wanted a ride to church. We turned right around and drove the 20 minutes to pick her up. She had just returned from her night shift but wanted to attend church. We were so delighted to pick her up even tho we were "late" for sacrament. She attended my YSA class and nodded off occasionally. Before saying goodbye I gave her a big hug and told her how much I admired her decision to attend church even though it was very difficult for her. She had made the right decision and I am sure she knew it also.
My YSA class was filled to the brim! If things keep going like this we will out grow our little classroom. The problem is there isn't a bigger room for us to use! We have wonderful gospel discussions in the class with some seasoned members and many only a year or newer in The Gospel. The Spirit testifies and we all learn together. Right now we are working earnestly with an eye single to attending a temple baptismal day in December. There will be some growth and changes necessary for some but we are praying for everyone to be there!
So if you were to ask us how our weekend was....We would say FANTASTIC!! Our work in Ennerdale branch is "More Frosting on the Cake"!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Payday -rh

Every so often things happen that warm our hearts. A few weeks ago, we had two consecutive days where we were paid by the missionaries. The first day, there had been a funeral at the adjoining chapel. Two of the missionaries attended because of a teaching situation they were in with the family involved. At the luncheon following the funeral, they were given some of the leftover food (because they are missionaries). Instead of rushing back to their flat with the goodies, they came and shared with the office staff. Since I know how important a full belly is to missionaries I was very impressed AND touched that they would share with us.
The next morning, two other missionaries brought in some cupcakes they had personally made. They were big, tall, yummy cupcakes. But wait, that’s not all. They also brought Elder Watts and me each a tie. They hadn’t gone out and bought us ties – they had come in a package from home, but it was great to know that they were showing their love for us. We made these ties official memorabilia by having the missionaries sign and date them.
At the next transfer day one of the Elders in his short testimony/advice for younger missionaries talk, extolled the virtues of the office couples and went on (probably a little too long) about how hard we work and what a great job we do for the Elders and Sisters out in the trenches. It doesn’t get much better than this.
These experiences put a smile on my face for several days. They were real “paydays” for us.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire! -gfh

There is a YSA dance coming up in October. The dress is formal and the emphasis is on ballroom dancing! Our Ennerdale YSA's wanted to learn to ballroom dance so Elder Henrichsen and I jumped at the chance. We started with the Waltz and then ended with a little foxtrot swing demo. We wowed them! Of course that wasn't too difficult since they had no idea how it really should be done.

Ntkozo was cleaning up and got caught practicing with a broom!

The future Fred Astaires and Ginger Rogers are Winnie, Kwanela, Tsepho, Thandeni, Ntkozo, Kotgso, and Pride

The Brown Suit! -gfh

Elder Paunoswiswa keeping the tradition of the Brown Suit alive!

There is a fun tradition here in the mission. Since 2001 there has been a brown striped three piece suit and a tie that some how mysteriously shows up on an elder at transfer meeting. Sister Poulsen has asked President to confiscate it and burn it but I'm sure she loves the tradition as well. However it is pretty ugly. Each missionary who wears it signs and dates on the inside of the jacket. We never know who is going to be wearing it. This transfer the Assistant to the President who was being replaced wore the suit. Elder Henrichsen is thinking of wearing next.
As you will notice from the picture it doesn't matter how it fits. The important thing is keeping the tradition alive!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Rhino & Lion Park

While spending the day with The Jamesons at the Rhino Lion Park my camera battery died! I missed the opportunity to record our fun day in photos but Lorriane got some fantastic pictures and gave me permission to copy her blog post.
Thank you Lorraine!!
Here is her post complete with pictues. She knows a lot more about the animals than I do. Enjoy!

"On our last day in South Africa we decided to be complete tourists. We went to the Rhino & Lion Park just outside Johannesburg.

It was made even more fun because we spent the day with Rusty and Georgia Henrichsen, who are serving their mission in the Johannesburg mission office. It's amazing that half way around the world we were with a Tempe connection.

The Rhino & Lion Park is quite different from a safari. You drive your own car through the park and you have to stay on the roads. The animals don't live by the laws of nature and have a protected environment. They don't have to look for food. They don't eat each other and they're very accustomed to people staring at them. The predators are kept in one part of the park and other animals are separated from them by electrical fences. You go through gates to get into each area. It's sort of a cross between a zoo and a game park, but we enjoyed it very much, and we especially loved sharing it with the Henrichsens. We talked as much as we looked.
We saw at least 35 different animals. It was interesting how the animals were found, often at feeding spots, in groups with many different animals intermixed.
We saw all kinds of DLA's (deer like animals.) They are the most numerous variety of animals and the main source of food for the African savanna predators.

The antelopes with the masks are called a gemsboks. The baby waterbuck looks like a good target as he runs away, and the guy with the huge horns is a sable antelope. His horns are not only big but most beautifully ringed with color.

The blue wildebeests are pretty homely and do actually have a blue cast to their coats. There were hundreds at this park, but we saw a lone wildebeest in the Mara. You can see several kinds of antelopes eating together. The roan is in front, then there's a sable antelope and a gemsbok at the back.

This tiny, frail thing is the smallest antelope we saw. He's called a springbok. He runs like he's got springs on his feet. In contrast, we saw this HUGE gemsbok. I'm not sure that he could even get himself up to run. Certainly he couldn't evade a predator.

There were seven different kids of animals eating together in this spot.

We saw several herds of cape buffalo. They are enormous beasts.
I'm not sure how they ever hold up that gigantic set of horns. They are one of the Big 5,
which consist of lions, rhinos, elephants, cape buffalo and leopards.

There were 15 kinds of birds. Most interesting were the cranes, pelicans,white flamingos

and these Marabou stork, who truly have an appearance that only a mother could love. Ugly!

Ginny hens are a favorite bird in South Africa and seen everywhere- such cute, fat, little critters!

Ostriches and wart hogs must like the same food. Everyplace we saw one, we saw the other.

We hadn't seen rhinos, so we were excited to see these big guys. They're another one of the
Big 5, Africa's five most dangerous creatures. They're known for their bad tempers.

Love the zebras! The zebras in South Africa have a grey stripe between every set of black stripes. They have a very different pattern to their stripes and are stockier than the ones in the Mara. I didn't know before we came to Africa that there were different types of zebra.

There were zebras and four kinds of DLA's feeding together at this same place.

We went to those areas to see the white lions, wild dogs and cheetahs being fed.

The head of the pride made sure that he ate first. The females stayed away or around the edges until all the males had eaten. Then the cubs are allowed to fed.

One cheetah kept watch while the other ate.

The wild dogs were the most ferocious eaters. They fought with each other and there was a defiant pecking order as to who got to eat first. One of the dogs was chased off and held at bay until the others had eaten.

The bengal tigers were pretty quiet until two of them got into a tug-a-war over a piece of meat. Then they both just clamped on and tried to out-wait the other. Finally, after at least 10 minutes, one got tired of holding on and let go of his grip. The other tiger quickly snatched the meat and went off with his prize.

There were also white tigers and leopards, all of whom were resting in the shade and not all that exciting to watch. We were happy to see the leopard. He was the last of the BIG 5. You can't go to Africa without seeing the Big 5.

The jaguar may have really been a stuffed animal for all the action we saw from him.

Brown hyenas are mostly scavenges, but sometimes they hunt.
They were right down in the ground in their den when we first saw them.

There was even a place where you could could see baby animals and pet a small white lion.

We had a good time at the Rhino & Lion park. Being a tourist is great fun and even four old senior missionaries can enjoy a little time away from the job on P-day and be better for doing it. It was a great day!"


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Goin' to Burundi . . . rh

We were able to spend last Saturday with our good friends, Brent and Lorraine Jameson, who have been serving in the Congo (DRC) for the past 12 months. They came to Johannesburg for a week and saved their last day here to be with us. We went to the Rhino & Lion game reserve. First I’ll tell you about the R & L, then about the Jamesons

The reserve is quite a large place. Once we were in, it seems that we drove around forever observing the animals. In the general area were rhinos, warthogs, cape buffalo (boy are they huge), several kinds of antelope and other DLA (Deer Like Animals), guinea fowl and other birds, wildebeests (gnus) and some that I’ve surely forgotten. These animals roam free within the reserve, since the predators are in double fenced areas. The three predators were the wild dogs, cheetahs and lions. We watched the feeding of these three groups of predators. They throw big chunks of animal carcasses into the groups of predators and they proceed to tear them apart and growl at their colleagues. The biggest bullies seemed to be the warthogs. They would chase bigger animals away from the hay that had been thrown out to feed the herbivores. They were being fed hay since most of the grass has been eaten and won’t be growing much again until the rains come. The wild dogs seemed to be the nastiest while they were trying to eat as they were continually “arguing” with each other over who gets the food.

We tried to see some hippos and crocodiles in some big pools but were unsuccessful. We did hear at least one of the hippos, however. Very noisy – somewhat like the sound Georgia and I heard coming out of that old railroad tunnel in Wisconsin last year on our bike ride up the Mississippi. We waited around a long time hoping to see the hippos surface or lumber back into the pond(s), but as noted above, nothing happened.

Now to the Jamesons. Brent is my old Stake President from Arizona and my roomie at girls’ camp. I think we spent four years together at camp. He says I trained him, since I’d been there once before. Brent and Lorraine sent their missionary application to the Missionary department expecting to be called as CES missionaries in Lyon, France. They had spoken with the mission president there and he had notified all the required parties that he wanted them to come and serve with him. They were flabbergasted when they opened their call and it said they were to serve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa mission.

As they described some of their adventures in Lubumbashi, it made the frustrations we have dealt with in our mission seem like child’s play. They deal with police stops almost every day, shortages of teaching materials, a non-existent postal system, regular (actually irregular) power outages, bad roads, scary plane rides, and so much more. Lorraine has had to work hard on her French and is now feeling fairly confident. Brent told us that he has been able to speak more fluidly in French since he arrived in the Congo – even though he was already fluent in the language. He was set apart to be the “Assistant Mission President” in the southeast area of the mission since it is so far from the mission headquarters in Kinshasa so any meeting they attend, he is the “visiting authority” and they are both expected to speak.

July 1, the mission was split with Lubumbashi as the HQ of the new mission. President Packer has now assigned them to go to Burundi with one other missionary couple and eight young missionaries to begin work in that small nation. They said that there are about 20 known members in Burundi right now, so they will be starting from scratch in their efforts. For those from Arizona, the other missionary couple is the Frogleys. Elder Frogley once taught seminary at Marcos de Niza in Tempe - small world in the church. Brent is a counselor to President Packer and will be directing the work in Burundi.

It was good to spend the day comparing notes and renewing the old friendship. We wish them the best in their new assignment. We know that the Lord will bless them in their work and they will find success.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Is this Necessary? -gfh

The office staff is kind of flabbergasted over this new handicapped parking procedure. I guess putting up signs asking people not to park in these areas wasn't working. I'm not sure. But to use this space now the handicapped person has to ask the gate guard to come unlock the post and remove it so they can park there. Well, okay.

On The Ball! -gfh

The SAF MTC President came by and said I needed to take a picture of this and put up a sign that says "I am on the ball!" A couple of weeks ago I got the idea to sit on this large exercise ball several hours a day. All I do all day long is sit! It's got to be bad for the body. I checked out a website about using an exercise ball for an office chair and read nothing but good things. The first day I only sat on it for and hour and went home that night feeling "new" muscles in my back, glutes and hamstrings. Hoping this will be one way to prevent "secretary fanny" and supplement my minimal morning exercise routine.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"All Things are Spiritual...." -gfh

We do have spiritual experiences. Honest! You may be thinking that our job is pretty temporal dealing with finances, supplies, passports, letters, phones, etc. etc. We know for sure that this is an important part of THE WORK! But I do want to share a couple of sweet experiences on the spiritual side of things.
Last Sunday our little branch had a baptismal service for four converts. Three of the people are family members(2 sisters and the mother) of a young man who was baptized a month ago. The young man is in my YSA class. He is awesome...obviously! His father will be joining the family shortly and that will be the beginning of a family on its way to becoming Eternal. These four baptisms make a total of thirteen convert baptisms in the seven months since we have been assigned to Ennerdale Branch. We have nothing to do with this except smiling and loving and supporting them. Our portable building that is the chapel is bursting its walls!

Yesterday about 4:30 two of the elders who had stopped in the office mentioned that they someone to go with them to teach a single sister. They asked if Elder Henrichsen and I would like to join them. Yes! This young woman has converted from Hinduism to Christianity and is now investigating the church. She decided to visit our church close by. She asked a Christian friend what women wear to church in the Christian churches and was told to wear nice slacks and a nice top. Sunday morning when she went to her closet to get dressed she said that she reached for her long skirt. (She is a police woman so you know she isn't used to wearing skirts & dresses) When she arrived at church she quickly noticed that all of the women there were wearing dresses or skirts. She said she would have been so embarrassed if she had worn the pants suggested and probably never would have returned. She knew that was God's way of preparing her to have a good experience. (of course she would have been welcome if she had worn slacks)

When walking to her home the elders asked us if we have the opportunity to teach very often. We said "never". Of course during the lesson we mostly listened and were supportive but did have the opportunity to help clarify a couple of her questions. Tears were running down her cheeks as she told the elders how grateful she was for their presence in her home and the wonderful feeling they bring when they come. Elder H helped her realize what that feeling was. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to see two of our elders "in action" and to see how they are guided and helped in their work.

And we have sweet spiritual moments here in the office as we watch the work unfold and have the opportunity to interact with the missionaries. As I have mentioned before I have some wonderful experiences when I take information for referrals. I've been asked to write up a couple of the recent ones to be included in the Transfer News which has news/changes/ etc for the mission and is given out every six weeks. I'll share them with you:

A recent Pass Along Card call in shared his story with Sister Henrichsen .. Bokkie, a 69 year old man was doing recycling and came across the card for a free DVD from The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was excited to share the rest of his story. He was raised in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) where he attended Sunday School at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a grown man Bokkie had lost track of the church and said he had “been hunting around for it” for years. While going through the recycling he “found it again”.
An older woman called in asking for a free DVD after having received a pass along card from two of the elders. She gave Sister Henrichsen her details so she could be assigned to missionaries and then asked if she could share something with her. She told Sister Henrichsen “your elders are doing a great work. I would like them to come around more often. There are some naughty children who live next door and the missionaries sat and talked with them for about an hour. If the elders didn’t have something good to tell them, those naughty children would never have sat still and listened.”